Marie Marfia, US-10 Sunset, 5x7

Sunset US-10

Another little sunset painting. I pulled an older photo for this one, from a time before all the new landscaping was put in at the end of US-10 in Ludington.

The new layout means you have a walk a little bit to get to the water, but it’s nicer looking, for sure.

I left the lighthouse out of this one, did you notice? I thought, if I put the lighthouse in there then it’s a lighthouse painting, but if I leave it out then it’s a sunset painting and that’s what I really wanted.

US-10 Sunset pastel by Marie Marfia
US-10 Sunset, pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $600.
Walking the Perimeter, 8x10 pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $800.

Walking the Perimeter

Painting my favorite models walking around the back of our property with me and the dogs. Me and the dogs not included here. Yesterday was my birthday! I had lots of good wishes heaped on my head and two of my kids, Nick and Sam, stopped by to help me celebrate. This is the two of them plus Steve walking past a patch of long golden grasses with the sun getting low in the sky behind them. It was also Steve’s and my anniversary, so extra reason to have cake and ice cream, which we did and that’s partly why we were out walking. We had to walk off the sugar buzz!

Walking the Perimeter, 8×10″ pastel on sanded paper, $800.

Next skelly art!

I’ve been meaning to do another romantic skeleton Old (Dead) Master piece and I think I have my inspiration.

Aucassin and Nicolette, by Marianne Stokes - (specific URL), Public Domain,
Aucassin and Nicolette, by Marianne Stokes – (specific URL), Public Domain,

Isn’t it awesome? I first heard the reference for this story in another book series that I have loved for about oh, 30 years or so. The story of Nicolette and Aucassin is mentioned in one of the Chronicles of Lymond series books by Dorothy Dunnett. If you’ve never read them, don’t waste any more of your life. I think they’re fantastic.

The books would be reason enough to do the parody, but I also really love this work, not least because it’s by a woman, yay, but also because the story is in itself a parody.

So right now I’m just sort of studying this to see how I might tackle it. I always learn so much from these. But anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up on what’s coming. Wish me luck!

Sunset-End of US-10

A good week

Getting used to having this awesome place to make stuff in. But going outside for inspiration is good, too!

Last weekend, Steve and I drove out to the State Park to watch the sun set. I was mesmerized by the reflections on the water and took a little movie of it.

A little bit of aah. I like the out of focus parts best. How to do this purposefully?

Also working on a portrait of my daughter and her daughter right now. It’s coming along. At least, I haven’t wrecked it yet! But if I do, I remind myself I’m allowed to try it again. That keeps the pressure off. Funny how portraits are like that, but landscapes? Not so much!

Sketch of Alice and Maeve
Preliminary sketch.
Alice and Maeve, detail.
Detail from the block-in.

Also, spring seems to be happening! Hurray! Temperatures are rising during the day and the snow is alternately crusty on top and satisfyingly smushy. I love how the trees are just pulsing with life and the snow is retreating from around their trunks.

I go out three times a day to walk the dogs and the landscape is a little different morning, noon and night. Once I lay down on a sunny patch of grass just to feel the warmth on my face and Daisy promptly sat on my head.

Signs of Spring, 6x8" pastel on sanded paper. $600.
6×8″ pastel, Signs of Spring, $600.

I finished up my landscape class with Vianna Szabo. I learned a lot and I’m determined to put all that new knowledge into practice. If you get a chance to take a zoom class with her, I highly recommend it. She does demos in three different mediums–oil, pastel, and watercolor–and is very patient about answering everyone’s questions. Below is the final piece I did for “Impressionistic Landscapes”.

Sunset-End of US-10, 6x8" pastel on sanded paper, $600.
Sunset-End of US-10, 6×8″ pastel, $600.
Moonset over the Ditch, 6x8" pastel on sanded paper, $600.
Moonset over the Ditch, 6×8″ pastel, $600.

That’s it for this week! Hope it inspires you to do more fun, creative stuff. Now get out there and make a mess of your very own!


I’m in!

Studio is done and I’m in it. Finally!

I’m gonna pause here for a moment. A lot of moments, actually. And let it sink in.

Okay, done.

Just so you know, I feel really, really lucky.

I cannot wait to see what happens next. Gotta go now. The rest of my life is calling me. Please enjoy the following tour of my new space.

Here’s the new digs!

Hey, sign up for my newsletter in the menu and you’ll make my day!

Collaborative acrylic painting


This piece was a collaborative effort between myself and another local artist, Linda Sandow. There is an art show coming up at our local art center for February called “Duets” and the idea is for artists to work together on a single piece. 

On the Saturday after Christmas, Linda brought a 12×24″ canvas over to my studio downtown (still there for a few weeks, yet) and, listening to instrumental music and chatting (with masks on), we went to work with acrylic paint, brushes and a palette knife.

It took about two hours from start to finish. Here’s the photo reference we used:

Here’s the photo reference we used:

photo reference for the collaborative painting
Photo of an alley in downtown Ludington, taken in January 2020.

We chose this photo because Linda wanted to do some moodier versions of downtown and liked the idea of using pictures of alleys and backs of buildings–places that are off the beaten path. 

For the painting we used mirror images of the same photo, one on each side of the canvas. Linda had a palette knife and I dug out a couple of brushes and after dividing the canvas right down the middle, we jumped in.

Here’s the time-lapse:

When I saw the time-lapse, I was struck by how differently we approached the work. I painted from the outside in and Linda painted from the inside out. I loved watching her lay on color like icing on a cake, working from light to dark. Such a great contrast to how I worked, sketching in all the shapes first and then going from darkest dark to lightest light, matching values and hues. 

She started giggling toward the end and I asked her what was so funny and she said, “I’m done!” What a great way to signal the end of a painting!

I’m so grateful that Linda agreed to work with me on this. I admire her fearlessness and playfulness and her exuberance! Painting with her was just the pick me up I needed after this year. 

Even though the subject is an alley at night, a typically dreary location, in this piece it is lit up like a Christmas tree and beauty is reflected on every surface. I love how it came together and I really enjoyed sharing this with Linda. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

It’s made me feel more inspired to paint subjects that are hidden and overlooked in the new year and see how I might transform them into something beautiful. And then to see how they transform me.

new studio

Progress on my studio

Thanks to my lovely husband, Steve, my she-shed/studio/woman-cave is all wired up and we are now in the process of insulating the walls and ceiling. Woohoo! We’ve come a long way already!

Who says you can’t get good help these days? And he works for love!

Next we will be putting up the walls and then a floor and I can start moving my stuff! I’m thinking about a gas wall furnace, too, so it’ll be toasty in the wintertime, but until that happens a couple of space heaters will work just fine.

dogs in the studio
Of course, we’ve had to have the inspectors in to look everything over. They approve!

The walls are gonna be slat boards. I found a ton of them on Craigslist, used, but in great shape. Slat walls are really cool because you can literally cover them with hooks and then you can hang everything everywhere. Hurray! No more clothespins!

Slat walls for the studio.

And Steve came up with a brilliant plan for the ceiling which involves thin sheets of metal that we can get for practically nothing from the local newspaper office.

As usual, I’m of two minds about the new space. For one thing, it feels like I’ve been waiting all my life for this. Growing up in a large family meant that space was tight for everyone and resources were limited. Since I was little I’ve always dreamed about a big castle where I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Steve and I used to daydream about the perfect home/studio combination. “We’ll have a house with a turret on each end,” we’d say, because we each wanted our own private place to make stuff.

But life intervened, as it does. We had kids and a mortgage and all the turret building time got used for other things. No regrets! It’s been a grand adventure so far with more to come.

I’ve been making do with the spaces available to me since we moved back to Michigan in 2016. There was the Makers Market space on the main drag first, which was pretty awesome, not least because I was working adjacent to a lot of creative and crafty people every day. And I’ve enjoyed my various spaces at 307 S. James Street since I’ve been there. Combining creative space with retail has been a learning experience, for sure. I just never knew who was going to walk through the door there. Sometimes it was someone friendly and sometimes it was someone who’d clearly made a mistake. I never did open up my flat black gallery after all that work we did on it, but it’s okay. Everyone’s had to make sacrifices in 2020. Mine haven’t been more than I can handle, certainly, and I feel lucky to have gotten off so lightly compared to so many others.

In a few more weeks I’m going to start a new chapter in my arty art life and I’m feeling by turns gleeful and a little bit freaked by the whole thing. Like I said, two minds. That’s my m.o.

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prints cards on sale

My X-mas sale is finished!

My annual X-mas sale Friday, November 27 through Thursday, December 3, 2020 is officially over.

It’s the end of the line(s)

Please note: I will no longer offer cards and prints handmade in my studio. Cards and prints along with masks and canvas wraps and home decor and t-shirts and all that other swag will still be available, just not made by me personally. Instead, you can find everything in my Fine Art America shop (in the menu on the right).

Basically, I want more time to create original artwork. Making and packaging cards and prints takes time and energy, not to mention space. And, if you didn’t already know, I’m going to be moving soon and there just isn’t room for a big printer, plus all the paper and inks, envelopes, plastic sleeves, mats, foam core, etc., etc. in my new studio. But more about that later. Stay tuned!

Oh, all right, here’s a sneak preview of my soon-to-be-new digs being delivered by the great folks at Wanna Buy Sheds

Once I get it wired up and put some heat in there, it’ll be sweet! Promise I’ll post pictures as I go.


Art Show wrap up, new pastel painting

To wrap up last month’s Art Show in three words, I’d use “breezy,” “grateful,” and “normal”. The weather was breezy both weekends, and the shoppers were grateful to be able to do something normal for a change.

Art show wrap up painting "A Little Bit of Normal" 8x8" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.
A little bit of normal, 8×8″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $250.

This is a pastel of my booth with some shoppers in it and their very patient doggy waiting in the front. He was a lot more interested in what was happening in front of him than behind. Since he’s facing the check out tent, maybe he was attracted by all the flapping tissue paper as we attempted to wrap up the more fragile items without everything flying away from us. It was sunny, yes, but also very windy! One of the perks of living near Lake Michigan is there’s almost always a breeze to be had.

All in all, it was a pretty successful couple of weekends. One of the things we heard over and over was how nice it was to do something “normal.” Normal in this case being an art show. So many events got cancelled this year, it was nice to have a show and put up signs and sell stuff. So I’m calling this piece “A Little Bit of Normal” because that’s what it meant to so many people.

Laurie says she’s done with art shows after this year, so I may have to stage one of my own. Stay tuned. I have some ideas about this and they involve a new studio space in my own front yard! It’s going to be so cool. I can’t wait.

Thanks for coming out and supporting us. It’s one of my favorite memories from this year so far.

If you’re interested in purchasing this piece, email me.

The Very Last Supper, Old (Dead) Masters show

Old (Dead) Masters show October 2020

Hey, now’s your chance to see my Old (Dead) Masters show up close and in person at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in October!

The timing for this show is too perfect! When I got a message from Ludington Area Center for the Arts saying they had a last minute cancellation and could I possibly bring in my Old (Dead) Masters paintings to display in the Performance Hall Lobby, I said yes, yes, yes!

I love this time of year. Of course, skeleton art is appropriate at any and all times of the year, in my opinion, but especially in October. It rocks!

This show features all the Old (Dead) Masters pieces that I have, each in a beautifully appropriate skull themed frame. You have to see them, they’re too cool!

So if you’re looking to get into that spooky skeleton mood this year–not that there’s anything not terrifying about 2020 so far, mind you–please make the trip to see my beautiful Old (Dead) Masters show. The art is fun and not too scary, so appropriate for all skeleton lovers, no matter their age. And it’s only up through October!

Bonus activity: see if you can correctly identify each of the famous artists/works that I parodied for each piece!

The details

Performance Hall Lobby, Ludington Area Center for the Arts, 107 S. Harrison St., Ludington, Michigan.

Through October 2020

Tuesday thru Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m

Parking everywhere, but there is some construction going on right now so you may have to get creative in your approach.

Happy Halloween!